Enjoy fresh and homemade focaccia bread with a restaurant-style Italian balsamic dipping oil.
You’ve probably had focaccia bread as an appetizer at Italian restaurants. Its texture is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, and it’s heavily seasoned with olive oil as well as various herbs and sometimes vegetables. Toppings can include dry or fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme, minced garlic, parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, or chopped olives. It’s a very versatile bread that can be adapted for many purposes — some ideas include using it as sandwich bread, a base for pizza, or a side dish or snack.
Focaccia dough is simple to make — it’s easiest to use a food processor’s kneading disk or a stand mixer’s kneading attachment. Or you can knead by hand. I used a food processor and it was so easy to toss my dry and liquid ingredients in the bowl and press a button to turn everything into dough. Once you have your dough, I let it rise twice: first in a bowl as a dough ball and second after it’s been flattened out on a baking sheet, about an hour each until it has doubled in size. The dough should feel very supple, airy, and a bit sticky. I also punch a lot of finger holes along the surface of the dough to get some nice craggy features. Focaccia bread should be prepared using a lot of olive oil, so don’t be shy when drizzling the dough with olive oil.
What’s the point of bread without having something to dip it in? Pictured here is my favorite Italian balsamic dipping oil, which includes olive oil, a generous helping of balsamic vinegar, finely grated parmesan cheese, minced garlic cloves, and dried thyme. Whenever I’m at an Italian restaurant and the server makes the mistake of bringing dipping oil to go with the bread, I’m always asking for refills. You can’t ever have too much of this.
Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. This is how I reheat them: spray both sides of the focaccia with water, briefly drain any excess water, and bake at 350 F for 10 minutes. It’ll be good as new.
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